The best web hosting will allow you to get your website online quickly and ensure it runs smoothly. It can be difficult to choose the best web hosting option for what you need because there are a lot of options around, and they offer varying levels of support and features. On top of that, web hosting providers aren't always great at explaining what they offer in comparison with the competition. They often opt to dazzle us with flashy price banners and confusing jargon rather than clearly explain their services, which makes choosing all the more tricky.
To help, we've rounded up the best web hosting providers of 2021 in this useful guide. In order to pick the best web hosting for your site, you'll need to have clear what kind of hosting you're looking for. If you’re not sure, read our guide to the different types of hosting below. And if you don't have a website yet, see our guide to the best website builder services to get started.
If you're after a bargain, make sure you check our cheap web hosting roundup.
In brief: the best web hosting services in 2021
01. Bluehost – the best web hosting for beginners
If you're a beginner, Bluehost is the best web hosting service to get you started. It offers an easy interface, excellent customer support, and useful analytics and SEO tools, all at very affordable prices.
02. Hostinger – the best cheap web hosting – up to 80% off
Hostinger's cloud hosting not only keeps your website safe, via data centres spread across the globe, it offers brilliant value for money, too. Right now, there's even up to 80 per cent off web hosting plans!
03. Hostgator – the best shared web hosting provider
To keep costs low, you'll want shared hosting. And Hostgator is a great choice for this, providing you with strong support, a free domain name, unlimited email addresses and a website builder.
The best web hosting services of 2021 in full
Bluehost is the best web hosting service for beginners. Its interface is very easy to understand and use and its customer support, via phone, email or live chat, is friendly, approachable and helpful. If you want to delve deeper into your website’s performance there are some good analytics and SEO tools to help you out. And overall, you simply get a great, all-round, reliable service.
We should add that Bluehost offers the best web hosting for WordPress sites. Depending on your plan, Bluehost will install your WordPress software either automatically or in one click. If you have a WordPress.org site with another host, you can transfer it for free within 30 days . And if your site/s are large and complex, the managed WordPress hosting options are excellent too.
The main thing you need to watch with Bluehost is that like many hosting companies, the attractive low price you start with tend to jump up after a period of time (in this case, two years). For more details, read our full Bluehost review.
Cloud hosting means your website's data is stored in servers across multiple regions of the world. So it's a great way to minimise the risk of data loss, especially when natural disaster or political upheaval takes place in one specific country. The best web hosting provider for this is Hostinger, which has data centres spread across several nations including the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Lithuania, Singapore, Brazil, Indonesia and India.
The cheapest cloud hosting plan starts at $15.99 per month, although there are sometimes deals available (right now there's 50 per cent off, making it just $7.9). There are also cheaper shared web hosting plans available.
There are three cloud hosting plans: Business Startup, Business Professional, and Cloud Global, each offering good levels of speed and scalability, as well as automated updates, daily backups, and free dedicated IP. Sign up for a year, and you’ll also get a Lifetime SSL certificate, daily backups, unlimited email accounts and a free domain.
In general, Hostinger isn't a great web hosting service to head for advanced features or managed plans. But as a no-frills option, it's one of the best. For more details, read our full Hostinger review.
For the average webiste, shared hosting is the best choice, because it's by far the cheapest. And we think the best shared hosting provider is Hostgator.
Hostgator offers first-class uptime, performance and customer support in general. But its shared plans are particularly great value, as not only are they super-cheap, but you'll also get a free domain, free SSL certificate, $100 of AdWords and Bing credits, unlimited free email addresses, and a website builder, which includes 100+ mobile-friendly templates and an image library. You also get 24/7/365 support via live chat, phone and email.
Hostgator has three shared hosting plans. If you want to sell online, you need Business. Otherwise pick Hatchling to host a single domain, or Baby for more than one. These are very low priced, but be warned that they more than double after the first term. For more details, check out our full Hostgator review.
VPS hosting is pricier than shared hosting, but you get finer control and greater bandwidth for your money. And in our view, you'll find the best web hosting of this type at InMotion. Although its VPS plans aren't the cheapest on the market, they’re the best value overall, with some impressive specs on offer.
For example, on the cheapest managed VPS hosting plan you get 4GB RAM, 75GB SSD storage, 4TB bandwidth, three dedicated IPs, free SSLs, a cPanel and WHM for just $17.99 a month. InMotion also offers dedicated Sysadmin support to expedite your data migration and server setup, and a choice of optimisations depending on whether your sites are based on PHP or WordPress. And all plans include 100% SSD servers, giving you 20X speeds, and live-state snapshots, allowing you to roll back your server to any time period.
On the whole, InMotion costs a bit more than most web hosting providers but offers more in return, so if you want more than a basic site, it's well worth investigating. In particular, the 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email is excellent. For more details see our full InMotion review.
Many people, such as managers and web developers know their way around web hosting. But they still need a lot of help and guidance in setting it up and maintaining hosting for their multiple sites. If you're one of them, we'd recommend Siteground as the best web hosting provider for technical support.
Siteground is well known for the approachable, helpful and capable way it gives help and advice through a wide variety of channels, including chatbots, phone, email, live chat and tickets. Calls are answered quickly, and tickets receive a first reply within 15 minutes on average. If you choose the most expensive GoGeek plan, you get priority ticket support from the most experienced agents.
This provider has plenty else to recommend it too, including high uptime and speeds. If security is important, you can choose which geographical region your servers are based in. It's a great choice for users of WooCommerce or WordPress. And there are some smart features for web developers as well, such as being able to create Git repositories.
On the downside, Siteground not the cheapest host around, and it's not really suitable for beginners. For more details, check out our full Siteground review.
Dedicated hosting is the most expensive type of hosting, with a high-spec service and powerful customisation tools. And we believe the best web hosting provider for that is Hostwinds.
With Hostwinds’ dedicated hosting, which starts at $90 a month, every server is fully managed, so tasks such as sys admin duties, server monitoring and nightly backups are done for you. You also have a lot of scope to tweak your setup. For example, servers can be fitted with any combination of SSD or SATA drives you choose, and you can choose between different Windows/Linux operating systems.
In business, time is money, and so for many customers, managed hosting is well worth paying for. Liquid Web not only offers the best web hosting in this field, but it's surprisingly affordable too.
Rather than bombard you with marketing waffle, Liquid Web makes specific promises, and stick to them. For instance, when it comes to tech support, they guarantee a response within 59 seconds on phone or live chat, and within 59 minutes on email. They also commit to a 30-minute hardware replacement and 100% network uptime. And if downtime does happen, they'll credit you 1,000% the amount of time you were affected.
With specialised solutions for managing email, WordPress, WooCommerce and a whole host of other cloud products, this is a managed web hosting provider you can depend on: a premium service offering stability, security and great support. For more information, see our full Liquid Web review.
You might not believe this, but you can actually get free hosting. Not as in a free trial, but free cover. And if that appeals to you, Byethost is the best web hosting provider offering this right now.
With Byethost you can get 1GB of disk space and 24/7 tech support via its internal ticketing system. You can install WordPress, PrestaShop, Joomla and other platforms using the Softaculous app. You even get a website builder, a free domain (albeit one ending in byethost.com), and five email addresses.
Of course, this isn't the most sophisticated or feature-rich web hosting, and there are some big restrictions, such as limiting your site to 50,000 hits a day. The interface isn't very easy to use either. And your site might take a little longer to appear on visitors' screens. But the idea that you're not paying a single penny for this web hosting may mean those are compromises you're willing to make.
What are the different types of web hosting services?
There are several types of web hosting, but the vast majority of website owners use shared hosting simply because it's the cheapest. With this kind of hosting, your site is stored on the same server as a lot of other sites, leading to economies of scale and low prices. It's the obvious choice, then, for small, low-traffic websites.
If, however, you own or manage a large and complex website, or a group of websites, and you expect to experience big spikes in traffic, or high traffic overall, you should avoid shared hosting. It probably won’t allow enough bandwidth for you to provide a reliable service to your users, who may find your site loads slowly, or not at all, as a result.
The next step up from shared hosting is VPS hosting. Here, your site still shares space on a server, but with fewer other sites than with shared hosting. That means you get more bandwidth, your site will load more quickly, and you’ll have better security, as well as more fine control over how your plan works.
Up from there is dedicated hosting, where you get an entire server to yourself. This is best suited to anyone looking to build complex, high traffic websites, and costs rise accordingly. If you don’t like the implications of relying on just one server, which could be shut down due to natural disasters or local political action, then you want cloud hosting. Cloud hosting spreads your website data across a number of different servers, usually around the world, for better security and reliability.
Finally, the more advanced your needs, the more challenging hosting becomes to manage. To release you from the mundane tasks around site maintenance, managed hosting means you pay the hosting company to handle all the setup, administration, management and support, so you don't have to.